At Living Well, we believe outings help create advocacy, and that advocacy opens the doors to opportunities. We have been busy lately and have enjoyed catching up on the FUN we missed these past few years. We are grateful now that the weather is cooperating to get out into the world again! Here is what we have been up to:
TapeMark Minnesota PGA Pro-Am I June 10-13
Living Well would like to thank the TapeMark Minnesota PGA Pro-Am for another amazing tournament. This year the weather cooperated and the 51 teams who competed with a total of 204 golfers, including Living Well CEO Tom Gillespie, were all smiles as they helped raise awareness for the disability community. A big highlight from the tourney was when Angus Flanagan broke the previous Southview Country Club record and shot a 61. They are still tallying up the official dollar total, but for reference, last year Tapemark was able to donate $100,000 to their beneficiaries, and since 1972 has donated $7.8 million dollars! Beneficiaries of money raised and donated are: Living Well Disability Services, The Arc Minnesota, Proact and PGA Reach Minnesota.
What is the Tapemark Pro-Am? In 1972, Bob Klas Sr. decided to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. As the father of two children with special needs, he knew firsthand the challenges facing children with disabilities and their families. And in turn, he knew the uphill financial battle facing the non-profit organizations that provided essential support to individuals and families. So, with his friend and co-worker Pat Cody Sr, Klas created the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament. The first tournament in 1972 raised $9,000, and Minnesota golf history would never be the same. Since the beginning, the Pro-Am has raised and donated money for non-profits serving people with developmental and learning disabilities and their families, changing the lives of thousands of Minnesotans.
It has become one of the longest-running and most successful events of its kind in the country! The biggest legends in Minnesota golf have all won Tapemark professional titles, including Tom Lehman, Don Berry, and Dave Tentis. The Tapemark Pro-Am Men’s and Women’s golf tournaments rely on the generous financial support of corporate and individual sponsors, donors, and the hard work of many volunteers. All of us at Living Well are grateful for the support and advocacy.
Family Fun Day I June 16, 2022
Elvis was back in the building! Well, back at Como Park anyway. After two years of cancellations due to Covid, on June 16, we celebrated Family Fun Day with 350 of the best people on earth. Staff, families, guardians, and people served came to the Como Park Pavilions to have some great food from Aesop’s Table BBO truck, enjoy conversation and listen to Tony Redmond as Elvis. Community and connection are at the backbone of our mission and this event is wildly popular because it is FUN, and apparently everyone loves Elvis. We set out 50 years ago to create a better living environment for children with disabilities. All these decades later 38 of those “kids” still call Living Well home. There were name changes to the company and people are more distinguished looking these days (darn gray hair), but the mission stayed the same—people deserve to be seen, supported and given opportunities to engage with and enjoy their communities.
We are so grateful to gather again this year. And we are also very grateful for the level of service provided by Aesop’s, Tony Redmond and our photographer, Pamela Diedrich. All of these people “get it.” And by get it, they understand our people, see them fully, engage with them without hesitation, and by doing so create safe interactions and showcase inclusion. There may have been more wheelchairs at the park than people who walked by are used to seeing, and that by its very nature is part of the lesson. We are all different, let’s celebrate the ability for all of us to celebrate. At Living Well, we are at our core advocates. We serve 300 people, have 500 employees, and have the pleasure of working with over 500 volunteers. Together we will change the paradigm and show the world that disability care is essential, and funding, from the government, businesses and personal sources is what provides opportunities like Family Fun Day to exist. Let’s change the world together!
Annual Dakota County Regional Chamber Golf Classic I June 20, 2022
On June 20, we went golfing, in 100-degree heat, to network and showcase our mission to local businesses. The heat was brutal, as was our Living Well team missing the winners circle (there’s always next year), but the participation was beneficial. A popular event among its members, the Annual Dakota County Regional Chamber Golf Classic is a day of networking and friendly competition! Held at Mendakota Country Club, one of the finest golf courses in Dakota County, the event is a perfect opportunity to connect with the best businesses in the community. A portion of the proceeds from the day’s activities (silent auction and 50/50 raffle) go to the Chamber’s Charitable Foundation to support scholarships, transit and transportation initiatives, and workforce endeavors in Dakota County.
This is the second year in a row Living Well hosted a hole table, and it was the perfect way to meet our neighbors. Of our 37 homes, 16 are in Dakota County. We firmly believe that the more people who know about us, the more opportunities we will have to build relationships with people and organizations looking for ways to support nonprofits and organizations doing good things in the community.
We will be back again next year! Thanks to Board Chair, Paul Hillen and Board Members Kevin Pleasant and Kevin Reilly for joining CEO Tom Gillespie on the links. We appreciate your continued advocacy.
ARRM Forward Annual Conference & Expo I June 21-22
Representatives from Living Well were happy to participate in the ARRM Forward Annual Conference & Expo at Mystic Lake Center June 21-22. Program Managers, Care Team staff, HR and Executive leadership learned a lot about the industry and ways to improve and grow professionally.
ARRM is a nonprofit association of more than 200 provider organizations, businesses and advocates dedicated to leading the advancement of home and community-based services supporting people living with disabilities in their pursuit of meaningful lives. Founded in 1970, ARRM continues to lead advocacy and training for positive industry reforms that support Minnesotans with disabilities.
The ARRM Annual Conference welcomes all stakeholders of Minnesota’s disability services industry. The conference provides a diverse array of education opportunities for people at every experience level and sector. This full-day conference featured exciting keynote speakers, informative presentation tracks, alternative and interactive programming, and special networking opportunities.